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Your Fair Copyright for Canada Facebook membership update.

Susan Delacourt of the Toronto Star was blogging a few days ago that she’d be interested to see how the grassroots reacted to the Conservatives new Copyright reform legislation, and she did a mention of how the Fair Copyright For Canada Facebook group had amassed large numbers of members, merely on rumours of the proposed legislation.

I think it’s safe to say it’s going over like a lead balloon. The group is now up to close to 57 000 members as of this blogposting. Another 6000 new members since my blogpost about it yesterday, for a grand total of 9000 new members joining over the weekend.. and 16 000 new members since Bill C-61 was unveiled by Jim Prentice and the Conservatives.

Unbelievable. I know some political parties that would be in heaven to get new members at that rate.

The sleeper issue of the upcoming election campaign is taking root. The Conservatives ignore this grassroots movement and its demand for Fair Copyright laws at their electoral peril.

[email protected]:54pm – Now up to 59 042 members as of this update. More then 2000 members in a single day. WOW!

LAST UPDATE, Monday, June 16/2008 @ 10:45 am: The group has now gone over 60 000 members.

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People aren’t liking the looks of Bill C-61’s proposed copyright reforms apparently.

There’s a story at the CBC’s website about how the Fair Copyright For Canada Facebook group has had its membership surge since the introduction of Bill C-61, the Conservatives and Jim Prentice’s proposed Copyright Reform legislation. As of 6:20 pm last evening when the story was posted at the CBC’s website, membership had gone from 41 000 at the start of the week to 48 000 last evening. It’s gone up even further this morning: as of this blogposting, the group stands currently at 51, 316 51 423 members – another 3000 members joining the group in little over 15 hrs since that story was published, and 10 000 new members to the group since Thursday AM, when Prentice first introduced the bill.

This is galvanizing a lot of people – people that may not normally get involved in politics. It’s good to see.

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Late Night/Early Morning Open Thread

What would be a good synonym for Pierre Poilievre?

Probably this:

Feel free to leave other synonyms, or anything else on your mind.

PS – RIP Tim Russert. I didn’t watch his show all that often, but I was aware of his importance on the American political reporting scene. I was surprised to hear the news of his sudden passing.

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Euro 2008 interlude

I’m not that big of a soccer fan, but I will watch the international events like the World Cup, or the Euro 2008 series, and I just want to say my new favourite underdog/dark horse team who I’m pulling to get to the next round is Romania. Lots of enthusiasm and spirit and they actually do try to score goals.

UPDATE: Now that the Netherlands has advanced to the next round, they should be resting a lot of their first-stringers against Romania. If Romania wins, it doesn’t matter what happens in the France-Italy game. It would be kind of sweet to see both 2006 World Cup finallists knocked out at the same time.

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Is Bill C-61 the right copyright law for Canada?

I’d say the answer is no:

Under the Prentice bill, transferring music from a copy-protected CD to an iPod could violate the law. So, too, could efforts to play a region-coded DVD from a non-Canadian region or attempts by students to copy-and-paste content from some electronic books…The need to read the fine print does not end there a new statutory damage award of $500 for personal-use infringement applies to music downloading that many believe is legal, while it does not cover uploading files onto peer-to-peer networks or even posting videos to YouTube…their self-described “made in Canada” solution actually looks an awful lot like the much-criticized U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Once Canadians read the fine print on this bill, many may demand that the government go back to the drawing board.

That comes from an article Dr. Michael Geist wrote in the Toronto Star today. Anyone who has followed this issue know that Dr Geist has been a leading critic of the Conservatives proposed copyright reforms. At his own blog, he goes even further, calling this bill a betrayal:

..Because the Conservative Party of Canada promised to Stand Up for Canada, yet the Canadian DMCA is quite clearly U.S.-inspired legislation, the result of intense pressure from U.S. officials and lobby groups. Because the interests of individual Canadians – including those calling for more flexible fair dealing – is completely ignored. Because the Canadian DMCA was introduced without consulting consumer groups, education groups, civil society groups, or the Canadian public. Because Jim Prentice knows better. He saw first-hand the passion of Canadians calling for balanced copyright and has received thousands of calls and letters on the issue. Yet rather than genuinely working to craft a balanced solution, he opted to release a fatally flawed bill.

I will say that I don’t expect this legislation in its current format go anywhere fast with the Cons. being in a minority government and with the opposition parties all apparently opposed to this bill. If Prentice and the Cons. refuse to listen to the demands of thousands of grassroots Canadians to make this bill much more balanced toward the rights of consumers and not just an American DMCA re-run that gives in to the American copyright lobby, then the opposition parties should heavily amend this bill to make it reflect more balance and pass it in the House over the protests of the bleating Cons.

If the Cons withdraw the bill so as to not allow that to happen, then an opposition party who chooses to campaign on Fair Copyright Laws has an instant issue and platform plank in the upcoming election campaign. I’ve checked out the Fair Copyright For Canada Facebook group since Bill C-61 was introduced. There were about 40000 members of that group, give or take a thousand, prior to Jim Prentice’s release of the proposed Bill C-61. Since his announcement, the group had gained 5000 members and is up to 46 319 as of this blogpost. For a Canadian based Facebook group, the large # of members and the amount of new members coming in a matter of a couple of days is pretty amazing. This could be the sleeper issue of the next general election, and it’s going to bite Jim Prentice and the Cons. hard if they leave this fatally flawed legislation in its current format.

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Can Pierre Poilievre, Part 2

Apparently, Pierre was even feeling heat from some of his own Conservative colleagues for his stupid remarks yesterday:

CTV parliamentary correspondent Roger Smith said many Conservatives are also angry at Poilievre. Certainly the content of what he said is very debatable, his timing was not very good at all, said Smith.

I have no doubt whether or not Pierre was speaking on his own and inadvertently let slip out what the Conservatives REALLY think of the First Nations peoples (note that he said in his comments yesterday that some of us are starting to ask are we really getting value for all of this money and is more money really going to solve the problem?’. Who was he referring to there, as Liberal Anita Neville rightly wondered.), or else he just went off message on his Cons. talking points, the Prime Minister’s Office probably wasn’t very happy with him spoiling their apology yesterday and making them look rather insincere.

I also have no doubt that led to a stern talking-to and was why Pierre rose today and made a Member’s Statement where he apologized for his remarks. I don’t have the context of what he said yet; I’ll be taking a look at Hansard or seeing if others have found it.

That isn’t enough for the Liberals, who are demanding Pierre be removed/fired from his Parliamentary Secretary position for the “intolerant remarks”, and insults toward the residential school survivors. Rightfully so. Harper however will probably claim that the apology is all that is warranted, which is his SOP when one of his MP’s or Cabinet ministers gets into hot water.

[email protected]:15pm: How predictable of Harper:

“The opposition called on Harper to dismiss the parliamentary secretary to the Treasury Board president, saying the comments were shocking and offensive on a historic day meant to engender a more respectful relationship between aboriginal Canadians and the government. Harper rejected the call, but said the remarks were wrong. “As all members of the House know, the parliamentary secretary has apologized for remarks that were wrong. I know that he has also forthwith contacted national aboriginal associations to indicate that,” Harper said.

(H/T Cam, who is now saying that he regrets giving Harper the benefit of the doubt yesterday in being sincere with his apology)

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Some evidence that justice isn’t completely dead in the USA…

…at least, not yet:

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that foreign terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay have rights under the Constitution to challenge their detention in U.S. civilian courts. The justices handed the Bush administration its third setback at the high court since 2004 over its treatment of prisoners who are being held indefinitely and without charges at the U.S. naval base in Cuba. The vote was 5-4, with the court’s liberal justices in the majority… Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the court, said, “The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times.” The court said not only that the detainees have rights […]

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The Cons don’t even know how to do an apology correctly. Pipsqueak Pierre needs to be punished.

You know, I WAS going to say that the apology Stephen Harper delivered today to the First Nations people was a nice and long overdue gesture, but it sure would be nicer if the Conservatives matched their words with actions – something this government hasn’t done, or rather it’s done actions in the negative - as with the scrapping of the Kelowna Accord.

This evening however, one of the Cons. knuckle-draggers, Pierre Poilievre, decided to show in an interview that really, deep deep down, the Cons. think the natives are just ripping the taxpayers off, even those who endured the years of abuse and mistreatment in the residential schools:

“That gets to the heart of the problem on these reserves where there is too much power concentrated in the hands of the leadership, and it makes you wonder where all of this money is going. We spend $10 billion dollars – $10 billion dollars – in annual spending this year alone now, that is an exceptional amount of money, and that is on top of all the resource revenue that goes to reserves that sit on petroleum products or sit on uranium mines or other things where companies have to pay them royalties and thats on top of all that money that they earn on their own reserves. That is an incredible amount of money. Now along with this apology comes another $4 billion in compensation for those who partook in the residential schools over those years. Now, you know, some of us are starting to ask, Are we really getting value for all of this money, and is more money really going to solve the problem? My view is that we need to engender the values of hard work and independence and self reliance. Thats the solution in the long run – more money will not solve it.

The First Nations did not “partake” in the residential schools program. Partake is a synonym for sharing or participating in something, and the Natives certainly did no such thing. And, Pierre, that money is compensation for their ill treatment. What in the world does “getting value for all this money” have to do with anything? This looked like a nudge-nudge-wink-wink speech aimed at the likes of the SDA crowd, to reassure them that yea, we think that money going to the natives is a waste.

You wanna know what Pierre’s speech is the equivalent of?

This:

That’s basically what Pierre is giving to the First Nations, on the day of what was supposed to be a historic apology for years and years of mistreatment, neglect, abuse, and attempted assimilation of a culture.

I agree with Cam (who has First Nations in his ancestry and is a lot more irate in his blogpost about this); If Harper and his Cons. want to show they are really sincere in their apology – they will discipline Poilievre.

(H/T Kady O’Malley for catching this idiocy of Pierre’s)

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Support Bill C-555. Sign the petition.

I just saw this over at Warren’s this morning, and I heartily agree with him: cell phone companies in Canada gouge the Canadian consumer.

If you agree as well, go here to sign the petition supporting Bill C-555, David McGuinty’s private members bill that will among other things ban system access fees that are charged by cellphone companies.

Some more info on BIll C-555 at Mr. McGuinty’s page here.

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An idea for the province to encourage plastic bottle recycling

I don’t have an article in the news to cite this as it was a story broadcast on the local London Ontario news, but there is an interesting idea being pitched by some in the City of London as a way to increase the # of plastic bottles being recycled and returned by the public.

Currently, it is estimated by London that 1/3 of plastic bottles don’t get properly recycled by their city residents and instead get thrown into the garbage and end up in landfill sites. Some there are proposing the way to help increase the # of bottle being returned for recycling is for the province of Ontario to copy what the province of Alberta does (yes, they do have some green programs there) and offer a deposit for returning plastic bottles. The rate in Alberta is 5 cents for bottles 1 litre and under, and 20 cents a bottle for anything over a litre. The program has estimated to help bring 80% of plastic bottles back in for recycling.

This isn’t anything that novel; Ontario already does this for beer and wine and liquor bottles, so why not also for this? I don’t doubt the waste rate for plastic bottle is pretty high in other cities besides London, and if people have an incentive to return their bottles, I think this will help out the return rate immensely, and cut down on all the plastic bottles ending up in provincial landfills.

I think its a great idea that some in the city of London have come up with. They are going to try and convince the Dalton McGuinty government that this is the way to go, and I think they have a convert to their cause tonight. I’d urge the Premier and his government to take a serious look at this proposal.

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